Review of Estimation Models for Post Mortem Interval using Total Body Score and Accumulated Degree Days for Different Geographical Regions

Oghenefego Michael Adheke *

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria.

Loveday Ese Oghenemavwe

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Post mortem interval (PMI) is the period since death of human or animal remains upon discovery. The study of decomposition of remains in forensic sciences has grown tremendously in recent years, hence, a good number of studies have provided taphonomic data on the prediction of PMI of decomposing cadaver remains using variables such as accumulated degree days (ADDs) and total body score (TBS). Mathematically, ADDs is the summations of mean daily ambient temperatures from the possible time of death to date of discovery of remains. Total body score is a quantitative variable used to evaluate whole body qualitative changes in the decomposition of such remains. Quantitative methods have been shown to provide a more objective and standardized assessment of decomposition. However, the question of a universal PMI model has been a difficult one to answer because of environmental variations within and between various regions in the world such as temperature, humidity, and presence of scavengers. These variations make it difficult to establish precise timelines for decomposition stages based solely on qualitative assessments. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to quantitatively review the impact of accumulated degree days and total body score from decomposition processes on the estimation of PMI and an attempt will be made to provide PMI models from various researches around the world.

Keywords: Taphonomy, postmortem interval, cadaver, accumulated degree days, total body score


How to Cite

Adheke , Oghenefego Michael, and Loveday Ese Oghenemavwe. 2023. “Review of Estimation Models for Post Mortem Interval Using Total Body Score and Accumulated Degree Days for Different Geographical Regions”. Asian Journal of Advanced Research and Reports 17 (11):43-56. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajarr/2023/v17i11553.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Payne JA. A summer carrion study of the baby pig Sus scrofa. Linnaeus. Ecology 1965;46(5):592–602

Payne JA, King EW (1972) Insect succession and decomposition of pig carcasses in water. J Ga Entomol Soc. 1972;7(3):153–162

Rodriguez WC, Bass WM. Decomposition of buried bodies and methods that may aid in their location. J Forensic Sci. 1985;30: 836–852.

Mann RW, Bass WM, Meadows L. Time since death and decomposition of the human body: Variables and case and experimental field studies. J Forensic Sci. 1990;35:103–111.

Catts EP, Goff ML. Forensic entomology in criminal investigations. Annu Rev Entomol. 1992;37(1):253–272

Reed H. A study of dog carcass communities in Tennessee, with special reference to the insects. Am. Midl. Nat. 1958;59:213–245

Adlam RE, Simmons T. The effect of repeated physical disturbance on soft tissue decomposition – are taphonomic studies an accurate reflection of decomposition? J Forensic Sci. 2007;52(5)

Carter D, Yellowlees D, Tibbett M. Moisture can be the dominant environmental parameter governing cadaver decomposition in soil. Forensic Sci. Int. 2010;200:60–66.

Matuszewski S, Hall MJ, Moreau G, Schoenly KG, Tarone AM, Villet MH. Pigs vs people: the use of pigs as analogues for humans in forensic entomology and taphonomy research. Int. J. Leg. Med. 2020;134:793-810.

Schoenly KG, Haskell NH, Hall RD, Gbur JR. Comparative performance and complementarity of four sampling methods and arthropod preference tests from human and porcine remains at the Forensic Anthropology Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. J. Med. Entomol. 2007; 44(5):881-94..

Miles KL, Finaughty DA, Gibbon VE. A review of experimental design in forensic taphonomy: moving towards forensic realism. Forensic Sci. Res. 2020;5(4):249-259.

Wahyono A, Alim DP. Estimation of Post Mortem Interval using Accumulated Degree Days (ADD) Method. Malaysian J. Med. Health Sci. 2022;18(Supp 16):102-106

Beary MO, Lyman RL. The use of taphonomy in forensic anthropology: past trends and future prospects. A companion to forensic anthropology. 2012;499-527.

Brooks JW. Postmortem Changes in Animal Carcasses and Estimation of the Postmortem Interval. Vet. Pathol. 2016; 53(5):929-940

Rodriguez WC, Bass WM. Insect activity and its relationship to decay rates of human cadavers in east Tennessee. J Forensic Sci 1983;28(2):423–32.

Megyesi MS, Nawrocki SP, Haskell NH. Using accumulated degree days to estimate the postmortem interval from decomposed human remains. J Forensic Sci. 2005;50(3):618–26

Spicka A, Johnson R, Bushing J, Higley LG, Carter DO. Carcass mass can influence rate of decomposition and release of ninhydrin-reactive nitrogen into gravesoil. Forensic Sci. Res. 2011;209(1-3): 80-5.

Jaafar S, Nokes LD. Examination of the eye as a means to determine the early postmortem period: a review of the literature. Forensic Sci Int. 1994;64(2-3):185-9.

Van den Oever R. A review of the literature as to the present possibilities and limitations in estimating the time of death. Med Sci Law. 1976;16(4):269-76.

Hiraiwa K, Ohno Y, Kuroda F, Sebetan IM, Oshida S. Estimation of post-mortem interval from rectal temperature by use of computer. Med. Sci. Law. 1980;20(2):115-25.

Green MA, Wright JC. Postmortem interval estimation from body temperature data only. Forensic Sci Int. 1985;28(1):35-46.

Hutchins GM. Body temperature is elevated in the early postmortem period. Hum. Pathol. 1985;16(6):560-561.

Knight B. The evolution of methods for estimating the time of death from body temperature. Forensic Sci Int. 1988;36(1-2):47-55.

Nishida K. Experimental studies on the estimation of postmortem intervals by means of fly larvae infesting human cadavers. Jpn. J. Leg. Med. 1984;38(1):24-41.

Kulshrestha P, Chandra H. Time since death: an entomological study on corpses. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1987;8(3):233-8.

Goff ML, Omori AI, Gunatilake K. Estimation of postmortem interval by arthropod succession: three case studies from the Hawaiian Islands. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1988;9(3):220-5.

Kashyap VK, Pillay VV. Efficacy of entomological method in estimation of postmortem interval: A comparative analysis. Forensic Sci Int, 40(3);245-250

Furuno J, Komura S. Inorganic phosphorus content in human aqueous humor in relation to hours postmortem. Tohoku J. Exp. Med. 1976;119(3):293-5.

Van Den Oever R. Post-mortem vitreous ammonium concentrations in estimating the time of death. Zeitschrift für Rechtsmedizin. 1978;80:259-263.

Henry JB, Smith FA. Estimation of the postmortem interval by chemical means. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1980; 1(4):341-348.

Findlay AB. Bone marrow changes in the post mortem interval. Sci. Justice - J. Forensic Sci. Soc. 1976;16(3):213-218.

Fisher RS. Postmortem Changes and Artifacts. A Handbook For. 1977 Jul:56..

Haglund WD, Reay DT, Swindler DR. Canid scavenging/disarticulation sequence of human remains in the Pacific Northwest. J. Forensic Sci. 1989;34(3):587-606.

Tomita M, Mikami Y. Postmortem changes of osmotic fragility and red cell shape. Kawasaki Med. J. 1980;6:85-91.

Smart JL. Estimation of time of death with a fourier series unsteady-state heat transfer model. J Forensic Sci. 2010;55(6): 1481–1487.

DiMaio VJ, DiMaio D. Forensic Pathology. New York: CRC Press; 2001.

Saukko PJ, Knight B. The pathophysiology of death. In: Saukko PJ, Knight B, eds. Knight’s Forensic Pathology. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2004:52–97.

Henssge C, Madea B. Estimation of the time since death. Forensic Sci Int. 2007; 165:182–184.

Komar D, Beattie O. Effects of carcass size on decay rates of shade and sun exposed carrion. J. Can. Soc. Forensic Sci. 1998;31(1):35-43.

Galloway A, Birkby WH, Jones AM, Henry TE, Parks BO. Decay rates of human remains in an arid environment. J Forensic Sci. 1989;34(3):607–616.

Myburgh J, L’Abbé EN, Steyn M, Becker PJ. Estimating the postmortem interval (PMI) using accumulated degree-days (ADD) in a temperate region of South Africa. Forensic Sci Int, 2013;229:165–e1.

Moffatt C, Simmons T, Lynch‐Aird J. An improved equation for TBS and ADD: establishing a reliable postmortem interval framework for casework and experimental studies. J Forensic Sci. 2016;61:S201-S207.

Keough N, Myburgh J, Steyn M. Scoring of decomposition: a proposed amendment to the method when using a pig model for human studies. J. Forensic Sci. 2017; 62(4):986–993.

Connor M, Baigent C, Hansen ES. Testing the use of pigs as human proxies in decomposition studies. J. Forensic Sci. 2018;63(5):1350-5.

Dautartas A, Kenyhercz MW, Vidoli GM, Meadows Jantz L, Mundorff A, Steadman DW. Differential decomposition among pig, rabbit, and human remains. J. Forensic Sci. 2018;63(6):1673-83.

Archer MS. Rainfall and temperature effects on the decomposition rate of exposed neonatal remains. Sci. Justice - J. Forensic Sci. Soc. 2004;44(1):35-41.

Goff M. Early post-mortem changes and stages of decomposition in exposed cadavers. Exp Appl Archaeol. 2009;49(1–2):21–36.

Scala JR, Wallace JR. Forensic meteorology: the science of applying weather observations to civil and criminal litigation. In Forensic Entomology. CRC Press. 2019;383-397.

Vass AA, Bass WM, Wolt JD, Foss JE, Ammons JT. Time since death determinations of human cadavers using soil solution. J. Forensic Sci. 1992; 37(5):1236-53.

Vass AA. The elusive universal post-mortem interval formula. Forensic Sci Int. 2011;204(1–3):34–40.

Michaud JP, Moreau G. A statistical approach based on accumulated degree-days to predict decomposition-related processes in forensic studies. J. Forensic Sci. 2011;56:229–232.

Simmons T, Adlam RE, Moffatt C. Debugging decomposition data—comparative taphonomic studies and the influence of insects and carcass size on decomposition rate. J. Forensic Sci. 2010; 55(1):8-13..

Cockle DL, Bell LS. Human decomposition and the reliability of a ‘Universal’model for post mortem interval estimations. Forensic Sci. Int. 2015;253:136-e1.

Nunez E, Steyerberg EW, Nunez J. Regression modeling strategies. Rev Esp Cardiol (Engl Ed). 2011;64(6):501-7.

Marhoff SJ, Fahey P, Forbes SL, Green H. Estimating post-mortem interval using accumulated degree-days and a degree of decomposition index in Australia: a validation study. Aust. J. Forensic Sci. 2016;48(1):24-36..

Probst C, Gethmann J, Amendt J, Lutz L, Teifke JP, Conraths FJ. Estimating the postmortem interval of wild boar carcasses. Vet. Sci. 2020;7(1):6.

Gelderman HT, Boer L, Naujocks T, IJzermans AC, Duijst WL. The development of a post-mortem interval estimation for human remains found on land in the Netherlands. Int. J. Legal Med. 2018;132:863-73.

Suckling JK, Spradley MK, Godde K. A longitudinal study on human outdoor decomposition in Central Texas. J Forensic Sci. 2015;61:19–25

Sutherland A, Myburgh J, Steyn M, Becker PJ. The effect of body size on the rate of decomposition in a temperate region of South Africa. Forensic Sci Int. 2013;231(1–3):257–262

Marais-Werner A, Myburgh J, Becker PJ, Steyn M. A comparison between decomposition rates of buried and surface remains in a temperate region of South Africa. Int J Legal Med. 2018;132:301-9.

Giles SB, Harrison K, Errickson D, Márquez-Grant N. The effect of seasonality on the application of accumulated degree-days to estimate the early post-mortem interval. Forensic Sci. Int. 2020; 315:110419.

Forger LV, Woolf MS, Simmons TL, Swall JL, Singh B. A eukaryotic community succession based method for postmortem interval (PMI) estimation of decomposing porcine remains. Forensic Sci. Int. 2019; 302:109838.

Fiedler S, Graw M. Decomposition of buried corpses, with special reference to the formation of adipocere. Naturwissenschaften. 2003;90:291–300.

Campobasso CP, Di Vella G, Introna F. Factors affecting decomposition and Diptera colonization. Forensic Sci Int. 2001;120:18–27.

Bonacci T, Brandmayr P, Greco S, Tersaruolo C, Vercillo V, Brandmayr TZ. A preliminary investigation of insect succession on carrion in Calabria (Southern Italy). Terr Arthropod Rev. 2010; 3:97–110.

Johnson AP, Mikac KM, Wallman JF. Thermogenesis in decomposing carcasses. Forensic Sci Int. 2013; 231:271–277

Sharanowski BJ, Walker EG, Anderson GS. Insect succession and decomposition patterns on shaded and sunlit carrion in Saskatchewan in three different seasons. Forensic Sci Int. 2008;179(2-3):219-240.

Farrell JF, Whittington AE, Zalucki MP. A review of necrophagous insects colonising human and animal cadavers in south-east Queensland, Australia. Forensic Sci Int. 2015;257:149-54.

Akpa HO, Tongjura JD, Amuga GA, Ombugadu RJ. Postmortem Evaluation of Rabbit Carcasses Using Insect Populations in Keffi Nasarawa State, Nigeria. European J. Biol. and Biotechnol. 2021;2(6):6-9..

Sinclair BJ, Vernon P, Klok CJ, Chown SL. Insects at low temperatures: an ecological perspective. Trends Ecol. Evol. 2003; 18(5):257-62.

Hoffmann AA, Chown SL, Clusella‐Trullas S. Upper thermal limits in terrestrial ectotherms: How constrained are they? Funct. Ecol. 2013;27(4):934-49.

Carter DO, Tibbett M. Microbial decomposition of skeletal muscle tissue (Ovis aries) in a sandy loam soil at different temperatures. Soil Biol Biochem. 2006;38:1139–45.

Stokes KL, Forbes SL, Tibbett M. Does freezing skeletal muscle tissue affect its decomposition in soil? Forensic Sci Int. 2009;183:6–13.

Meyer J, Anderson B, Carter DO. Seasonal variation of carcass decomposition and gravesoil chemistry in a cold (Dfa) climate. J. Forensic Sci. 2013; 58(5):1175-82..

Szelecz I, Koenig I, Seppey CV, Le Bayon RC, Mitchell EA. Soil chemistry changes beneath decomposing cadavers over a one-year period. Forensic Sci Int. 2018; 286:155-65..

Wilson AS, Janaway RC, Holland AD, Dodson HI, Baran E, Pollard AM, Tobin DJ. Modelling the buried human body environment in upland climes using three contrasting field sites. Forensic Sci Int. 2007;169(1):6-18.

Pringle JK, Cassella JP, Jervis JR. Preliminary soilwater conductivity analysis to date clandestine burials of homicide victims. Forensic Sci Int. 2010;198(1-3):126-33.